Slat Fences

A series of closely spaced 1x4 slats gives this intricate redwood fence the look of a partially open blind (see photo 3). The panels shown in the illustration measure a little over 12-feet-wide. The fence is divided horizontally into two tiers: The shorter, lower tier of slats fits between two 2x4 rails; the taller, upper tier is installed between the middle 2x4 rail and a 4x4 top rail.

The rails are toenailed to four 12-foot-long 4x4 posts that protrude 8 feet out of the ground. At one end of the privacy screen, the fence drops down to a height of 37 1/2 inches.

Construction. Set the four posts to create a 72-inch-wide center section of slats flanked by 36-inch-wide sections. The tops of the posts should be level and at the same height.

Next, toenail the horizontal 4x4 top rail to the tops of the posts. Cut the 2x4 rails to fit between the posts and toenail them in place. Then use a power miter saw or radial-arm saw to cut the small, angled spacer blocks. Set the saw blade to 45° and cut the blocks 11/2 inches wide from 2x4 stock. Bore a pilot hole through each one for an 8d galvanized finishing nail. Because the middle 2x4 rails have spacer blocks nailed to their top and bottom surfaces, be sure to offset the pilot holes so the nails don't collide.

To assemble, nail a spacer block to the underside of the top rail and to the upper surface of the middle rail. Run a bead of construction adhesive along the blocks' sides, install a 1x4 slat, then lay another adhesive bead across the surface of the slat at each end. Press the next pair of blocks tightly against the slat and nail them in place; install the remaining slats the same way.

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